Friday, 16 April 2010

Crazy Heart

The usual suspects stayed behind at the RBC Film club on Monday evening to discuss, amongst other things, Crazy Heart (2009). Directed by Scott Cooper it’s the story of a broken down alcoholic country and western entertainer who attempts to turn his life around after beginning a relationship with a young journalist and her four year old son. Cooper initially wanted to do a biopic on Merle Haggard but encountered problems getting the rights to the story. Instead he adapted the 1987 novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb, allegedly based on the life story of Hank Thomson an American country star whose career spanned seven decades and who sold 60 million records worldwide. 60 year-old Jeff Bridges plays 56 year-old, four times married, Bad Blake, a man with a 28 year-old son whom he has not seen since the lad was four. Other than the occasionally poorly paid gig his current life consists of whisky and a string of one-night stands with his middle-aged fan base. The director built the film around Bridges and was justly rewarded for his efforts with the star turning in a magnificent performance that’s totally convincing. The movie also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock, Blake’s reason for living. Robert Duvall is a Houston bar owner and Bad Blake’s confident and great friend. Colin Farrell plays Blake’s former protégé, Tommy Sweet, the current toast of Nashville. With music being a very important part of the narrative T-Bone Burnett, who has contributed musically to many films including producing the original music for O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) and Walk the Line (2005)’ shared the Academy Award with Ryan Bingham for the Best Original Song The Weary Kind. With a conventional plot and fairly obvious ending this back to basics film is arguable The Wrestler to music but as Philip French summed up in his recent critique ‘the movie had dramatic fibre and a sense of lived in experience’ quite right Philip.

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